UW System President Ray Cross Interview

Steve Walters of WisconsinEye recently interviewed University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross to discuss the future of the University of Wisconsin System. Video of the interview is below.

Topics of discussion included a look to future budgeting and funding constraints, the possible creation of new engineering programs at three UW System campuses, and the relationship between UW System and the Wisconsin Technical College System.

Walters and Cross spoke at length about Cross’ recent remarks to the Board of Regents and the subsequent plans for a transformational study of the UW System. Cross estimates this study will occur over the next several months, and faculty will be engaged in the process. Cross also said UW System must do a better job at communicating what faculty do, in and outside the classroom.

When asked if UW-Madison will be included with the proposed reforms, Cross said UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee have a research focus and the final recommendations may not fully apply to those two campuses.

 

Robin Vos on Teaching Load and Tenure

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) recently spoke with the Racine Journal Times editorial board, where he shared his views on a range of issues including right to work, school accountability and employment for prisoners.

Vos also discussed his views on UW System and its faculty, saying he was concerned about the amount of time faculty spend outside the classroom:

“If they’re bringing in research, I totally understand that; they’re helping to grow the economy or even grow the public good. But if they are just being allowed course releases to have a sabbatical or to do something that’s not productive, we don’t have the money to do that.”

On tenure:

“Do I believe in tenure? I don’t. It’s an anachronism; it was something that was back from the ‘50s and ‘60s. I don’t think anyone should be given a job for life, which is what tenure is.”

PROFS President Grant Petty notes that tenure is not a job for life, and in fact tenure was developed in the early 20th century to offer faculty due process and protect their academic freedom:

“Tenure is the foundation of great research and teaching institutions. It does not offer one a job for life, but instead allows faculty to pursue scholarly endeavors without fear of ideological or political attack.”

UW System President Ray Cross’ Remarks to Regents

UW System President Ray Cross

University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross addressed the Board of Regents Friday, broadly outlining reforms intended to improve efficiency and effectiveness while allowing the university to be more responsive to the needs of the state.

Some of the areas mentioned for reform:

  • Faculty workload
  • Class offerings and low-enrollment courses
  • Search processes for chancellors
  • Credit requirements
  • Student segregated fees
  • Administrative operations

PROFS President Grant Petty told the Wisconsin State Journal that courses are already examined carefully and cautioned against using credit hours taught as the only measure of efficiency:

“(L)ow-enrollment courses here at UW-Madison are often also high-impact courses. That is, they are usually taught to advanced students on a specialized topic by a professor with world-class expertise in that subject. Sometimes losing low-enrollment courses due to budget constraints means that our students lose valuable educational opportunities. Efficiency at UW-Madison cannot and should not be measured strictly in terms of the number of student credit-hours taught.”

Cross’ full remarks are here:

December Board of Regents Meeting

uw system logoThe University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet Thursday and Friday, December 4 and 5 at at UW-Madison. The meeting will be held in the Symphony and Overture Rooms of Gordon Dining and Event Center, 770 West Dayton Street. Livestream coverage of the meeting will be available here.

The regents will meet in committees Thursday afternoon and Friday morning:

The Education Committee will discuss UW System baccalaureate engineering programs, including the proposal to create a Northwest Wisconsin Engineering Consortium at UW-River Falls, UW-Stout, and UW-Eau Claire. Earlier this year, UW System commissioned a study to examine the potential need for more engineers in the state.

The Business and Finance Committee will hear a quarterly report on gifts and grants, review the trust funds investment policy, and listen project update reports.

The Capital Planning and Budget Committee will discuss proposed building projects, including projects at Grainger Hall and Elizabeth Waters Residence Hall. The Grainger Hall project to renovate two classrooms will be paid for entirely through gift funds, while the residence hall project requires additional funding authority.

Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch has been invited to address the Research, Economic Development, and Innovation Committee. The committee will also hear updates on Economic Development Incentive Grant recipients, including Discovery to Product (D2P) at UW-Madison.

The Audit Committee will discuss recent UW System audit reports and consider a request for proposals to create a waste, fraud and abuse hotline.

The full board begins its meeting at 9 am Friday. UW System President Ray Cross will address the board, providing his thoughts on transforming the way the university does business. The regents will hear reports from the Higher Educational Aids Board, the Hospital Authority Board, and the Wisconsin Technical College System Board.

PROFS Welcomes New President Grant Petty

Grant Petty

Grant Petty

PROFS welcomes Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS) Professor Grant Petty as president and offers many thanks to Agronomy Professor Bill Tracy for his hard work as president the past three years. Tracy remains a member of the steering committee.

Petty, chair of AOS,  is currently serving his third and final year as a member of the University Committee, the PROFS Board of Directors. He joined the faculty in 2000 and became a member of the PROFS Steering Committee in 2012. Two years ago Petty’s thoughts on public higher education were featured in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.